Let’s start with some facts: I am living in sunny California and me and my kids love Doctor Who! The one small problem, Doctor Who ‘s new episodes are not really available in US, so we need a way to watch them as soon as they are available. That’s not the only problem, a lot of sport events are ignored by US networks or their coverage is downright horrible, including Formula 1, Gymnastics, European soccer, etc. What to do? BBC iPlayer uses geo-location to check your current position and refuses to stream if you are outside UK. Same applies if you are trying to use Netflix/Hulu/HBO Go while traveling in a country that doesn’t have licensing rights for the mentioned services. We will need a service that provides access to streaming services from different countries and UnoTelly offers just such a service. I had the chance to use it around the house and while commuting on the train for the last week, and the experience is detailed in the present review. Read More…
Thanks to the FCC leaks, we all knew Roku 2 is coming, but we weren’t sure about its capabilities. Today, Roku made Roku 2 official and here are the details: There are still three models similar with the previous product line called Roku 2 HD for $59 that still keeps the same 720p HD limit (it is 2011, Roku, why to you have to artificially add this limit?), Roku 2 XD selling for $79 that upgrades the resolution to the max 1080p and ultimately, Roku 2 XS selling at $99 price point and adds Ethernet and USB ports.
Beside streaming media, Roku figured out the consumer also want some gaming capabilities ($5 range), so they included a 3D capable GPU that should enable some decent gaming, including Angry Birds available at launch (free if you buy Roku 2 XS). There is also a new Bluetooth remote – Wii style announced that should enable users to interact in a modern way with their new toy. It does come with a hand wrist strap so you won’t put your TV in danger.
While all the models have Bluetooth capability, only the most expensive Roku 2 XS will include the remote in the box, for the other models it is an Read More…
Well, what do you know? After many months of waiting and delays, Samsung Blu-ray players – 2010 models (and that also means non 3D ones) got a new firmware update – I downloaded it immediately on my BD-C7500 player and after installing it I surfed to the Samsung App store – much to my surprise, I saw a brand new Hulu Plus Application, available until now only on Samsung’s flagship 2010 models with 3D capabilities. After I played with it for a while, I have to report it features the same interface as any other Hulu Plus compatible device, it runs quite nice and it is much more responsive than its Roku equivalent. In terms of streaming performance, I prefer more my Samsung connected Blu-ray player than my Roku box which is just too slow. Of course, Roku 2 boxes are around the corned, scheduled to release very soon and they might come with a faster processor, but until then, my Netflix / Hulu Plus enabled Samsung BD-C7500 rocks. Read More…
And I said officially because at this point, if you have the skills you can have Hulu Plus on pretty much any Android device you want, including Nook Color. The new smartphones to officially get Hulu Plus are Sprint Evo 4G, T-Mobile G2, T-Mobile myTouch 4G, Verizon Thunderbolt making a total of 10. You can download the Hulu Plus apk straight from the Android Market if you are officially supported or from here and side load it to your device. Either way, you’ll need the standard $7.99 / month to use it although a free 2 weeks preview is available.
As a side question, now that Netflix raised prices, do you still prefer it over Hulu? I do, because the streaming plans are priced the same and Hulu Plus sucks with all those ads. We still need it for those pesky TV shows though…Nothing beats Hose / Bones, at least if you ask my significant other.
Netflix just announced a very important change in their plans. No longer you’ll be able to subscribe to both mailed DVD and streaming using their $8.99 plan, instead you’ll have to decide for either $7.99 streaming only plan, $7.99 1 DVD / $11.99 2 DVDs at a time plans or subscribe to both paying a minimum of $15.98 / month. The move comes as a result of Netflix being forced to cash more and more to acquire content for streaming and it was planned quite a while ago considering the recent interface changes that removed the ability to access your DVD queue from the streaming devices.
The new plans will be announced to existing subscribers over the next couple of days and apparently there is no option for the existing subscribers to keep their current plans. personally, the change doesn’t really affect me since I stopped mailing DVDs months ago, but that means I’ll have to find that last DVD I never mailed back to Netflix and send it to them.
Will Netflix move affect you or push you toward Hulu Plus?
Update: The Netflix website seems to be down for maintenance currently. No doubt to prepare it for the new subscription plans. Read More…
If these gadget deals keep coming, my blog will be transformed in a daily deal blog and I really don’t want that, so I’ll try to make this the last one for today. If you get the $299 Xbox 360 4GB Kinect bundle, Amazon will throw in a $100 credit for good measure. What can you do with a console? Well, first of all, Microsoft just released the Kinect Windows SDK, so if you have some intentions toward app development, you can get a really cheap development system and start churning source code. Or you can use to play / watch Netflix/Hulu Plus/ESPN. Even better, the XBOX 360 can work as a Windows 7 Media Center Extender, so you can play/pause/skip those recorded videos you got on the main server. What? You didn’t cut the cable cord yet? What are you waiting for? You are wasting money, man!
In our never ending quest for the perfect media player / streamer, we got one of the LG newest products, the LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader, put it to the tests and produced this review for your reading pleasure. Let’s see what it is about:
Announced at CES 2011, the LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader was advertised as a cheap solution to transform your TV into a connected set with access to a myriad of web services and applications. During the official press release, services like Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, YouTube, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, NHL GameCenter, NBA Game Live, and MLB.TV were announced as well, also an integrated web browser and the capability to run Apps from the LG App Store (social capabilities include Facebook and Twitter access). The box would be an official competitor to other boxes that we reviewed including Boxee Box, Google TV, Roku or WD TV Live Plus. Does it provide? Read away… Read More…
Since I cut the cable cord a while ago, I am constantly looking for solutions to improve my TV watching experience. At this point, I am using a PS3 in living room and ROKU / WD TV Live Plus boxes in every room I have TVs. Recently Sony released a new media streamer box that offers streaming functionality similar (but improved in several ways) to their flagship entertainment product – Playstation 3. The box is rather cheap at only $89 so I decided to give it a try. It got shipped fast enough and the results are described in this review.
The box includes the main media streamer box, the external power brick adapter, the remote, user manual and the good old red white yellow analog audio video cable. Why Sony did not include a HDMI cable in the year 2011 is beyond me.
Codecs, Inputs, Outputs: Read More…
Roku adds HULU Plus support to their really cheap line of media streamers and, combined with the other big announcement we published (HULU slashing their Hulu Plus monthly price to $7.99 from $9.99) should make it easier to get rid of your cable TV service and switch to a far more slicker (and cheaper) Roku set top box. Currently, if we are talking strictly about online content, Roku media streamers are by far the best (and cheapest) on the market offering access to services like YouTube, Netflix, NASA, Flixster, Vimeo, Amazon Video On Demand , Pandora, MLB.TV, Ultimate Fighting Championship and now of course, HULU Plus.
There are 3 different members in Roku media streamers line and, while all models support the entire line of online streaming services, there are some other variations to justify the price:
- Roku HD at $69 (wired and wireless network adapters, 720p streaming)
- Roku XD at $79 (includes upgraded 1080p streaming support
- Roku XDS at $99 (features a USB port for local streaming (not supported in firmware yet) and dual-channel 802.11n wireless adapter.)
All three models support HDMI and component outputs for the best video quality.
Update: If you order now one the Roku boxes, you will get one month of free Hulu Plus service!
You know, we keep telling you that Sony is becoming a force in the media streamer world and Sony keeps proving us right with every move they are doing. First Hulu Plus, then Netflix without a disk and with one of the best interfaces around and surround sound (read our Sony PS3 Netflix Review) and now, Sony just announced that VUDU is coming on their consoles starting November 23rd.
Impressed? If you only want one box for your media streaming needs, PS3 might just be it and, unlike XBOX 360 you don’t need any extra subscriptions like XBOX Live Gold to access the goodies.
VUDU was not too long ago purchased by Walmart and offers on Demand HD content with 1080p and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound in 5.1 glory. There is no subscription involved, you’ll have to pay per each movie you watch, however the movies will be available for streaming before they go on Netflix.
While on November 23 VUDU for PS3 will come with its old, well known interface, starting in December they’ll release their brand new UI, featuring ratings, recommendations, a layout improvement and PS3 Move controller support.
With this flurry of announcements right around holidays, it is obvious Sony wants to sell as many boxes as they can, and considering the Hulu Plus, Netflix, VUDU, DLNA support plus GAMES and a pretty good list of HD video codecs supported, they might actually have a point! The Sony PS3 160GB is available at Amazon for only $299 (no taxes, free shipping) and at this price they might leave other media streamer boxes in the dust.
Check after the break for additional screenshots of VUDU’s new user interface and full press release.